Bible Answer

Should a believer follow Old Testament Law?

Can a Christian eat pork? Surely once Jesus died on the cross all unclean meats became clean?

When Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law, He was saying He came to fulfill it on behalf of all who believe in Him. So if you believe in Jesus Christ, you are credited with having met the terms of the Law through Christ. In other words, Christ did the Law perfectly for you because you had no hope to accomplish the Law at all. 

Remember, if you violate even one law, you are a lawbreaker and are just as guilty as if you had violated the entire Law. So keeping one law (i.e., not eating pork) gains you nothing if you do not also keep every other law perfectly. Of course, no human being (apart from Christ) has ever met this standard, which is exactly why Jesus Christ came to save us.

Jesus lived a perfect life according to the Law which we could not achieve, including meeting the Law’s requirements for sin by dying on a cross. Therefore, when we accept Jesus’ work on our behalf by faith, God credits us with Christ’s perfect performance of the Law, and in that sense Christ fulfills the Law for us. 

Once the Law has been fulfilled perfectly on our behalf, we no longer have reason or need to keep it for our own sake. You can’t improve on perfection! This is why Paul tells us that we are not under the law, including its dietary restrictions. As Jesus Himself taught:

Mark 7:14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:
Mark 7:15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.
Mark 7:16 [“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]
Mark 7:17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable.
Mark 7:18 And He  said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him,
Mark 7:19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

Jesus Himself declared that if a person has been cleansed in his spirit (i.e., born again by faith in Jesus Christ), then that person is truly clean and therefore foods do not make us sinful. 

For more teaching on this point, we recommend you read the following articles:

On Law and Liberty
Do we need the Old Testament Law?

Please also listen to our Galatians and Romans Bible studies to learn the Bible’s complete teaching on this topic.